The first time we ever took my son to see Santa was at the Bicester Avenue branch of Wyevale Garden Centres. I can still picture his face as we held his little hand as he wandered around the trail before meeting the big man for the very first time. Roll on a number of years and it was time to see what fun he could have at the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre Bicester this year.
The Little Diggers Christmas Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre Bicester is running daily until 24th December and time slots can be booked online or in store for a maximum of 4 children per booking. It’s also possible to queue up on the day, but waiting times may vary. Priced at £10 per child (adults are free) the experience includes the opportunity to plant and grow a magic Christmas Tree and decorate it, meet Santa and receive a gift.
They always have lovely animal displays at Wyevale Garden Centre Bicester and a photo opportunity is never missed. Although we did feel that it wasn’t really apparent where Santa’s Grotto was actually located, and we had to ask at the Customer Service desk in the end.
We were pointed in the right direction and headed into what we presumed was the waiting area. My son spotted the reindeer and that was another photo required.
We could see some pots and wondered where we would find the magic Christmas Trees. As we waited it became apparent that Santa was sat on the other side of the door and we could hear everything he was saying to the child who was with him. This probably wouldn’t matter to younger children but it did ruin a little bit, the surprise element of what was to come with Santa, for my almost eight year old.
An elf appeared and asked if my son would like to plant a magic bean, and write his name on a plant label, which he duly did.
We were then ushered in to see Santa, who then asked my son to place his bean pot with label inside his magic cupboard. Duly despatched it was time to get down to business as Santa asked my son what he’d like for Christmas. Santa was very good, he picked up on my son’s very specific request and asked for all sorts of detailed information so he’d know exactly what to deliver. It made it far more personal and my shy son certainly responded well to him.
Santa’s elf helper was on hand to take some photographs, but I was also able to take my own shots throughout our trip to the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto at Wyevale Garden Centre Bicester.
Then it was time for a little magic, I won’t spill the spell, but when my son opened the door to the cupboard again, the bean was gone, and in its place my son discovered a miniature real Christmas Tree, along with his name label. Magic indeed and one seriously impressed boy.
I think my son would actually have been happy enough with his little tree, but Santa also gave him an aged specific present too.
As you leave Santa’s Grotto there’s an opportunity to buy various photo gifts if you so choose. It was at this point that I was asked if we’d booked a time slot, which all seemed a little odd, but maybe it was just because it was quiet when we visited. I would imagine at busier times an Elf would be checking tickets at the beginning of the experience.
We spotted a table full of baubles, sparkly streamers and pipe cleaners and another Elf told my son that he was free to decorate his new tree. That went down very well. My son is more a bauble kind of chap, than a tinsel and glitter boy, and he took his time deciding on just the right combination.
He’d thoroughly enjoyed himself and is so proud of his Christmas Tree, which is now sat on his bedside table, being watered every morning. Hopefully, with a little love and attention, it will see us through the Christmas period and we can then decide where to plant it in the garden.
To find out where your nearest Wyevale Garden Centre is that’s running the Little Diggers Christmas Grotto pop over to their website.
disclosure: we were given a complimentary ticket in exchange for an honest review